By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. For example, the Bank of Commerce Holdings (NASDAQ:BOCH) share price is up 70% in the last three years, clearly besting than the market return of around 39% (not including dividends).
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it’s a weighing machine. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During three years of share price growth, Bank of Commerce Holdings achieved compound earnings per share growth of 16% per year. We note that the 19% yearly (average) share price gain isn’t too far from the EPS growth rate. Coincidence? Probably not. This observation indicates that the market’s attitude to the business hasn’t changed all that much. Quite to the contrary, the share price has arguably reflected the EPS growth.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Bank of Commerce Holdings’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Bank of Commerce Holdings’s TSR for the last 3 years was 77%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Bank of Commerce Holdings had a tough year, with a total loss of 4.0% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 5.0%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 13% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Bank of Commerce Holdings is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.